In the News: Walnuts May Aid in Weight Loss, Licorice May Ease Hot Flashes, Eye Test May Detect Alzheimer’s Disease

Walnuts may aid in weight loss. As many nutritionists will tell you, a handful of nuts can do your body a lot of good. As it turns out, walnuts, in particular, may aid your weight loss efforts. In a recent study, researchers had several obese patients consume a smoothie with walnuts for five days in a row and had others drink a smoothie sans walnuts that had the same flavor and calories. Eventually, they had the placebo drinkers switch with the walnut drinkers and tracked their results. After drinking the smoothies, participants were asked to look at photographs of fatty food and had brain exams to track what took place. The group that drank the walnut smoothies had the appetite control part of their brains activated more than usual, while the group drinking placebo smoothies did not. Want to add walnuts to your daily snack rotation? Try this fragrant and delicious recipe. (NYT)

Licorice may ease hot flashes. While licorice root has been used in Egyptian and Chinese cultures for centuries for medicinal and culinary purposes, it turns out it may help treat hot flashes as well. While it has become increasingly popular to take a licorice supplement when dealing with pesky menopause symptoms, doctors are concerned that this root can negatively interact with other medications. They looked into how three types of licorice interacted with liver enzymes that help break down medications and found that the drugs were either processing slower or faster than usual. (SD)

An eye test may detect Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers are currently determining if eye exams can diagnose Alzheimer’s early on. In one study, experts found that an imaging technique could spot beta-amyloid plaques in the patients’ retinas. Beta-amyloids are pieces of a protein that are found in brain tissue; when a patient has Alzheimer’s disease, these beta-amyloids all bind together in little groupings or plaques, and these disrupt neural signals and cause inflammation. Since these plaques are considered a tell-tale sign of this disease, having the ability to spot them in a non-invasive and routine eye exam can be extremely beneficial. Eat these 10 foods to help keep Alzheimer’s at bay. (MN)

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